Review by Neo987

"Almost went into a coma myself..."

Here I am, lying in bed, watching Cartoon Network when a commercial for .hack//SIGN pops up. ''Omigod this looks cool!'' Then I miss watching it. Next week, a commercial for .hack//INFECTION appears. ''I have to get this!'' Takes me a week after release to hunt down a copy. Now I've completed the game and it's time to write a review for what I believe to be the best RPG I've played yet. Move over, Final Fantasy, a new contender's in town.

Gameplay: Overall 10/10
AI: 10/10
No hitch seen. Party members conform to your commands quickly. Monster AI is great. They know when to run away, how far to be to cast a spell, and which target is the greatest threat. NPCs run around, say sorry when they run into you, and just feel like players on another computer.

Difficulty: 10/10
With customizable play areas, how can I rate it any less? For random play areas, you create the difficulty, from monster levels to amount of monsters to dungeon depth, giving you a chance to level up and safely take on the predetermined story areas.

Audio: Overall 10/10
Sound Effects: 10/10
Spell sounds are loud, granted, but they fit their effects. When their's rain out, you hear it. Enemies with movement sounds can be heard coming up behind you. And yes, you have footsteps. Everything sounds like it should.

Music: 10/10
We've got sad music in a chapel with a chained statue, Christmas-ish music in snowy areas, light music in fields, and creepy music in dungeons and dark areas. The music fits the area and was composed, IMO, perfectly.

Voiceover: 10/10
We've got professional actors from favorites such as Cosmo from Fairly Odd Parents, Tsukasa from //SIGN, and R. Dorothy Wayneright from Big O mixed in here, so how can the voiceacting not be good? Sure, it's weird having a guy with a high voice running around calling you ''Fair Eyes,'' but with the small head on a huge body, it fits.

A note to language sensitive players: If I remember correctly, there was very little, if any, harsh language in this game

Graphics: Overall 10/10
Game/FMV: 9/10
Other than a slightly slowed frame rate when a lot of bodies were present, the graphics were very smooth in this game. No jagged polygons anywhere. Heck, the ''waterdrop'' characters (you'll understand if you play) had no flat sides. The only notable difference between FMV and in-game graphics was that the characters mouths moved (perfectly) when talking.

Spell Effects: 10/10
I don't see a thing to complain about.

Extras: 10/10
You've got timed runs, tag, creature raising, races and item trading, along with unlocking new backgrounds, music, and replayable FMVs to keep you busy when you don't want to fight. Plus, your friends may send you e-mail and like it when you reply.

Play Value: 10/10
All I can say is get this game. Don't rent it, buy it.

Replay Value: 10/10
After completing the game, you are allowed to keep playing and level your character in anticipation of //MUTATION. Yes, you can load a completed save into the next game, which is slated for release in May, 2003 for the US. Also, once the game is completed, the last tag match and a bonus dungeon are unlocked. With, from what I can tell, approximately 22,000+ different keyword combinations, you have a lot of places you can visit. Also, you probably don't unlock all of the music, backgrounds, and movies in the game, so you still have to do that.

Overall: 10/10

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 02/21/03, Updated 02/21/03

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